The annual gathering of more than 2,900 deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's national legislature, in Beijing for the country's development and reform priorities, among other things, has drawn to a close.
At the closing meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC on Monday morning, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to perform his duty scrupulously, do his utmost, and prove worthy of the trust of all NPC deputies and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups.
In a speech broadcast live, Xi, who was on Friday elected Chinese president by a unanimous vote, said the people's trust is the biggest motivation that drives him to march on and is a great responsibility he shoulders.
"From this day forward to the mid-21st century, the central task of the entire Communist Party of China (CPC) and all Chinese people will be to build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts," he said.
High-quality development, which entails innovative, coordinated, green and open development and development for everyone, was one of the buzzwords during the country's all-important political event.
While attending a deliberation with his fellow NPC deputies from the delegation of Jiangsu Province during the session, Xi stressed the importance of pursuing high-quality development, calling it the "first and foremost" task in China's modernization endeavor.
As one of the engines driving China's economic growth, Jiangsu has become a front-runner in the country's modernization bid. In 2022, the province's GDP reached 12.28 trillion yuan ($1.77 trillion), a 2.8-percent increase over the previous year, and its economic output accounted for 10.2 percent of the country's total.
The Chinese leader also highlighted the role of the private sector in pursuing such development when he attended a joint group meeting of national political advisors last week, underscoring that private enterprises and entrepreneurs "belong to our own family" and urging them to take the initiative.
China's economy as a whole has grown by leaps and bounds, with a greener and more efficient economy enabled by a shifted focus to high-quality development. For instance, the country's energy consumption per 10,000 yuan of gross domestic product in 2022 decreased by 0.1 percent from 2021, while CO2 emissions per 10,000 yuan of GDP fell 0.8 percent year on year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In Monday's speech, Xi reiterated that efforts should be made to effectively upgrade and appropriately expand China's economy, and continuously increase the country's economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities and composite national strength.
China's ultimate goal of promoting high-quality development is to deliver happiness and well-being to its people, as the country's leadership has made clear on many occasions.
In building a modern socialist country in all respects, the most challenging and arduous tasks are believed to remain in the rural areas, highlighting the need for further efforts to advance rural revitalization across the board.
China should foster rural industries with local features to create more channels for increasing rural incomes and consolidate and expand the achievements in poverty alleviation to prevent large-scale relapse into poverty, according to the government work report, a resolution on which was passed by NPC deputies on Monday.
In 2022, the growth of rural residents' incomes outpaced that of urban residents for the 13th consecutive year, and the income ratio between urban and rural residents dropped from 2.88 in 2012 to 2.45 in 2022, further narrowing the urban-rural income gap.
Addressing the closing meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC, Xi said a people-centered philosophy of development must be implemented so that the gains of modernization will benefit all people fairly.
In promoting prosperity for all, more notable and substantive progress will be made, he said.
"I will faithfully fulfill my responsibilities bestowed by the Constitution, with the nation's needs as my mission and the people's interests my yardstick," vowed the Chinese president.